Some Early Mid-Term Election Results

U.S. Governor's Races

In California Jerry Brown has defeated Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina has lost to Barbara Boxer but refuses to concede at this time.

 

U.S. Senate Races

In Nevada Harry Reid has defeated Sharron Angle and the Democratic Party has retained control of the Senate but lost the House.

Meg Whitman Booed At Women’s Conference

(Watch the video)

 

Meg Whitman showed a clear disconnect with California voters when refusing Jerry Brown’s offer of taking down all but the two positive ads from both candidates. People in this state are not looking for the best smear agent, we are looking for the person best qualified for the job as governor.

Another aspect to Whitman’s reaction to this proposal that I have not heard discussed is that of the huge sums of money she has spent on the political attack ads flooding the media–they have effectively committed her to the political strategy of negativity since she decided to make the majority of the ads negative instead of positive. Now that they spent millions trying to convince people the “other” is so awful it would be somewhat like throwing all that money away to suddenly switch stance to a “I’m the better choice” position.

If Whitman was a smart, pragmatic leader she would have taken up Brown on his offer to cut the TV ads down to the two positive ads from each. It appears she lacks the ability to think in terms other than dollar signs, or so it seems.

I find this sort of thing very typical of the conservative-Republican side of things. They never want to actually agree to being held to ethics and standing against the smear season tactics. When the chips are down and both sides are ready to deal on how negative things are getting, it always seems to be the right-winger who simply refuses to make it more civil. Perhaps because they understand that the Republican base seems to be fueled by negativity, scapegoating and fear mongering.

Pew: ‘Mosque Debate Tops Coverage, But Not News Interest’

The Pew Research Center has posted a new media study showing that most Americans are not interested to hear about the NYC Islamic community center, but would rather see coverage related to the BP oil spill.

While the media focused on the emotionally-charged debate over plans to build an Islamic mosque and cultural center near the World Trade Center site in New York City last week, the public continued to track the Gulf oil leak.

About a third of the public (34%) says they followed news about the oil leak more closely than other major stories, 15% say they followed news about the economy most closely and 13% say they focused most closely on the mosque debate, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted Aug 19-22 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press among 1,003 adults.

Another 9% say their top story was the withdrawal of the last U.S. combat forces from Iraq.

It is also not surprising that Republicans are more interested in this non-story about a mosque within a community center than are Democrats and independents.

This entire hate-fest was started up by conservatives and promoted by Republicans so it is no shock that the people they were trying to inspire bigotry came and delivered for them.

In my opinion this discussion over whether or not to move a house of worship is a false one. There is no discussion to have here whatsoever.

If you think a house of worship must move because of some bigoted comments from Newt Gingrich & others you are standing against the Constitution and against the very foundation of the United States.

Of course a person is free to hold this position, but there is no discussion to have on the topic until they amend their position to include throwing out the First Amendment as the first step to “stopping the American Jihad.” Since these ruthless, lying bigots only have emotional nonsense and hatred to spread there is no discussion resulting in anything productive that will take place.

The very fact that some liberals are entertaining this as a valid discussion is nothing less than disgusting to me.

Thankfully, it looks like (according to Pew) most people are viewing this as another non-story propped up by the media to take up space on slow news days and / or promote Republican racist ideology.

Beating The Dead Horse Of Right-Wing Racism

I’m sure by this point that most people who are political types have already formed an opinion of the matter of tea party racism and to the larger issue: if the Republican political strategy includes pandering to racist Americans.

I repeat again and again, too little avail, that not all tea party members are de facto racists.

I found it very unfortunate that so many on progressive side of politics were so quick to call Rand Paul a “racist” for expressing a standard libertarian point of view in regards to the Civil Rights Bill and the ADA. (Private enterprise craps rainbows is the short version of this pure libertarianism ideology.) Those perspectives are not racism, though they do tend to excite the racists out there. This alone, it is vital to point out, is not enough to place a person on the wrong side of the core issue of racial sensitivity or a lack thereof.

It is very easy to throw out a label, like “socialist” or “commie pinko,” but it’s harder to back it up. That was frustrating to see the left-wing doing the same unintelligent labeling based on ignorance that the right-wing has honed to a daily art.

I hear the sentiment more and more that people want to do away with labeling, but I only want to do away with all the negative labeling. I don’t see how we can escape the principal of using labels on groups of people as we so often do in politics. Something must have a name to become a movement, without a name to describe whatever ideological bent we are talking about it would be impossible to even discern accurately between them all.

The labels we choose to recognize ourselves by, and attribute to ourselves, are obviously the labels by which we wish to use and have function for us. I feel that we ever get beyond labels it will because all people stopped using them, and not before.

Then we come to issue of the dreaded label: racist. I’ve never been one to take away any fine glory from calling another person racist, but I also cannot simply remain silent as I witness specific cases over and over again.

There are many fine conservatives and even honest tea party-types out there, but they are the most hushed and pushed into the corner minority of the right-wing I’ve ever seen. Wherever these people be, I hear very little from them or of them.

***

My first experiences with the tea party were seeing a small protest with one sign reading:

It‘s the White House, not the Black House

No n-words, no overt racist slurs, no neo-Nazi symbols … just this kind of rhetoric. I found it to be racist in nature, in my personal opinion at the time.

Now Janeane Garofalo was downright mean on Keith Olbermann’s show, but I won’t link that video or repeat any of that here. But did she speak intelligently about the tea party with Rosie O’Donnell so I find it likely she was playing to the YouTube crowd with that one.

My complaints are more to the inclusion of fringe groups known for racism like the John Birch Society in CPAC as to the conservative side and the acceptance of “Birthers” (for lack of a better term) into the tea party side. These actions, and the glorifying of characters like Beck and Limbaugh who incite racial hatred for profit, amount to a very “toxic stew” to borrow a bit of their language.

I never said everyone right-wing was a racist, what a wild claim that would be! I’ve said people who did specific things, like write a sign about the “Black House” or suddenly find a love for the term “commie-socialist” (which makes zero sense by the way), are looking like they are motivated by white racism.

Am I supposed to say “in my opinion” like every other sentence or something?

We just has this opinion about comparing Obama to Hitler passed around and discussed like it was rational by Sara Palin and other far right extremists. Helen Thomas expressed an opinion in a manner I found distasteful and crass, but everyone seemed to forget she is was an opinion journalist.

Though how we state our opinions is important, I realize this well.

So I avoid the term ’teabaggers’ as much as possible (recently) and make a strong effort to declare what I present in the manner of an opinion be understood as an opinion.

But without getting too twisted into a pretzel here:

We all have to remember that you don’t get to control what other person’s opinion of your opinion is.

I personally believe the problems here are tied exactly to that, like the days of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Making statements in a vacuum, from any side of politics, is just getting really annoying.

I’ll back it up, we can have a Constitution quote-off over SB1070 or a Wiki-battle over Southern Strategy Republican racism. I do it all the time, it’s not a new thing it just happens in lightning speed transactions these days instead of “let me go home and grab a few books and we’ll pick this up later.”

I find myself desiring an Edward R. Murrow like figure to appear in our times … we desperately lack that kind of brutal and much needed honesty today. Perhaps more than ever.

***

And here is a chart for all those tea party deficit hawks:
(No horses were harmed in the course of this posting.)

They’re Not Cleaning It Up, They’re Covering It Up

Kindra Arnesen is not the only one appalled at this sham of a clean-up effort and the corporate whitewash media-blackout over the level of sheer disaster currently ravaging America at the hands of BP and Transocean.

Arnesen does not even touch on the toxic and hazardous dispersant (Corexit) that does nothing but add a poison that makes the oil harder to clean-up (and videotape / photograph) into the mix of all the other health hazards and environmental hazards already in play.

ProPublica.org:

The two types of dispersants BP is spraying in the Gulf of Mexico are banned for use on oil spills in the U.K.

As EPA-approved products, BP has been using them in greater quantities than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.

Reuters.com:

Oil-dispersing chemicals used to clean up the vast BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico carry their own environmental risks, making a toxic soup that could endanger marine creatures even as it keeps the slick from reaching the vulnerable coast, wildlife watchdogs say.

The use of dispersants could be a trade-off between potential short-term harm to offshore wildlife and possible long-term damage to coastal wildlife habitat if the oil slick were to reach land.

2010 CA Primary Wrap-Up

California just finished our primaries and voted on a few ballot measures. The semi-official results have just been released moments ago.

CA Attorney General and former governor Jerry Brown has received the Democratic nomination for the gubernatorial race. He will be running against former eBay CEO Meg Whitman from the Republican ticket.

Whitman has already run afoul with many California voters when it surfaced she has rarely voted in California  with the one proven exception of 1999 in Palo Alto. She apologized, calling her own voting record “atrocious.” But the fact remains that this a woman who never took the time to weigh in on important matters effecting the state time and time again, who then suddenly decided she wants to be governor. It rings of the notion that Whitman thinks she can just buy her way into the seat.

Jerry Brown, on the other hand, is a person of good ethics. According to Wikipedia: “he refused many of the privileges and trappings of the office, forgoing the newly constructed governor’s residence (which was sold in 1983) and instead renting a modest apartment at the corner of 14th and N Streets, adjacent to Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento. Instead of riding as a passenger in chauffeured limousines  as previous governors had done, Brown was driven to work in a compact sedan.”

Incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer will be running against Republican candidate Carly Fiorina.

The salvos have already begun to fly between Boxer and Fiorina over abortion, as you can read about here at the LA Times Web site.

Most notable for the “demon sheep” political ad that was widely circulated on the Internet, Carly Fiorina represents the far right-wing extremism of dirty pool politics (ala Karl Rove) and this pandering to the false notion that business experience amounts to good leadership in government.

Like Whitman, this appears to be a very wealthy woman who believes she can just buy her way into office.

Carly Fiorina has notably supported the “right to carry” for people on the terrorism no-fly list, saying this at a public discussion forum just prior to her nomination to the Senate candidacy. Obviously a person who thinks suspected terrorists should maintain any rights to carry guns is not fit to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Conversely Senator Barbara Boxer has a steadfast record of pro-education, pro-women’s rights, and pro-environment stances to draw from. Boxer should also be noted to have co-authored the Jumpstart Broadband Act. Quoting Wikipedia: “This bill would make more spectrum available for use by devices that incorporate new broadband technology, such as WiFi.”

Telemundo: Mentally Disabled American Deported

These are the kinds of incidents we can expect more of under the unconstitutional Arizona immigration power-grab and racial profiling law.

TelemundoChicago.com:

LOS ANGELES — The family of a mentally disabled man claims that the federal and local governments mistakenly had an American citizen deported and said U.S. officials should help find him in Mexico.

Relatives of Pedro Guzman, 29, are suing the Department of Homeland Security and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Los Angeles federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit this week over what the civil rights group contends was the wrongful deportation of a developmentally disabled man.

Pedro Guzman was serving time in Los Angeles County’s Men’s Central Jail for misdemeanor trespassing when he was deported to Tijuana on May 10 or May 11, according to the ACLU. The family said they’ve been looking for their loved one in Tijuana for a month. Michael Guzman said his worst fear is that his brother is “no longer living.”

He said Michael can’t read, gets lost and often can’t remember the family phone number.

The suit said Pedro Guzman was sentenced in April to 120 days in jail for a misdemeanor trespassing violation. The suit said that sometime after that the Sheriff’s Department identified him as a non-citizen, obtained his signature for voluntary removal from the United States and turned him over to federal authorities for deportation.

Guzman, who knows no one in Tijuana, was last heard from on May 11, when he phoned his brother and sister-in-law’s home to say he had been deported to that city, but the call was interrupted before he could say exactly where he was, according to the ACLU.

Guzman’s mother, brother and sister-in-law traveled to Tijuana and searched shelters, jails, churches, hospitals and morgues, but have not found him and fear for his safety, ACLU officials said.

“This is a recurring nightmare for every person of color of immigrant roots,”

Mark Rosenbaum, the legal director of the ACLU’s Southern California branch, said in a statement.

There are no circumstances under which a U.S. citizen can legally be deported.

Repost: Fox “Not-a-news-agency” News is Banned From White House Porch

Obama on FOX-thumb-340x229(Chicago Tribune: Swamp Politics)

Is it a good idea to single out just one outlet in the manner that The Obama White House recently has in the case of removing Fox Broadcasting from the press pool?


At first, I was in favor of the move to ignore the Fox Broadcasting Company by Barack Obama.

His efforts to clear his name on the website “Fight The Smears” stem almost entirely from Fox. He has every right to defend himself from these smear-merchants and radical right-wing propagandist supporters.

The right-wing lobby called “Fox News” (as in the cable pseudo-news) and “Fox News Talk” (as in the radio pseudo-news) is still “not a news organization” in my opinion. But I think this label should include everyone from Comedy Central to HLN to CNN to MSNBC, everyone except PBS and C-SPAN.

It’s been televised tabloidism in place of televised journalism for far too long. In my view.

Any White House that would send a clear signal that The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Countdown, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Glenn Beck Show are all the same thing would be nothing but a benefit in this age of media hate & mass misinformation.

These programs are not news, they are purely entertainment television.

Each of these programs has an agenda, as does the network behind each.

There is nothing wrong with doing agenized news. But it is dishonest and unethical to claim objectivity if you are playing toward a specific political wing, or any specific agenda. This is the greatest offense of the so-called Fair & Balanced Fox Broadcasting. As a network they cater to right-wing political agendas and refuse to declare themselves as a format that promotes conservative ideology. In that case I see it as a function of false advertising on behalf of the network.

All these programs, it‘s important to point out, are television propaganda toward that agenda. Which might be only the agenda to make you laugh.

The broadcasting produced by this political lobby / news agency / entertainment format in only the viewing of it is not dangerous. It is taking these kinds of broadcasts as serious news formats that is problematic in a democratic society.

The informed viewing of propaganda is merely educational. However, to those who refuse to see the difference between opinions and facts the viewing of the propaganda of reckless liars, there is a dangerous situation produced.

Mine is a somewhat complex argument in regards to “The News Wars” between The Obama White House and Fox Broadcasting Company:

It is a good move that Obama is standing up to bad journalism mixed with bad business practices, but a bad move that he singled out Fox News alone when all the news agencies screw something up.

Fox News is just the biggest offender of the smears.

I believe radio and satellite should remain untouched by sweeping regulations, but televised broadcasting of race baiting and McCarthyism is just too much tabloidism for me to handle.

This sensationalist reporting on politics that has been going almost entirely due to Fox News is not exclusive to them, so I think it would be wise to pick out a few other agencies, perhaps CLEARCHANNEL and Comedy Central, to also declare as non-news formats.

It is clear to me when a news group is run by an agenda, thus becoming more like a political lobby than a news group, but it is not clear to everyone.

A President who stands for educating the public should seek to educate people on what exactly “bias” is, and hopefully shed some light on the issue.

The specific near-criminal acts of failure to disclose vital information of a story committed by Fox News should be spoken of plainly and openly if not handled more severely. This tactic of isolation is my only qualm with Obama’s approach to dealing with fake news.

If it is the desire of this White House to tackle the specific crimes against society that Fox has committed, then I would hope the case was made in specifics.

It is my personal view that a news group, of any sort, can lose it’s status as “press” if they fail to uphold the journalistic truth as a matter of course.

I believe Obama did not go far enough to fight unethical journalism and false reporting.

But I certainly agree with the point that Fox has become something other than a news agency when they promote bad journalism that is not related to their “opinion-makers.”

YouTube Changes Its Face On Us

This new streamlined YouTube is improved in the sense that we can see a billion & one videos lined up, but somehow it feels like they just made the whole site a video version of Twitter.

I think it’s all a big grand master plan to get everybody on Facebook in the whole universe. We will make you Facebook even if you don’t own a computer, all devices must have Facebook Apps to be worthy of creation!

Why The Health Care Debate Is So Contentious

Even prior to the abortion issue being pointlessly dragged into the debate over health care reform the issue has been one of the most contentious debates I have ever seen in politics.

The question quickly becomes: Why?

I feel I have an answer, and it mirrors the matter of the abortion debate as well.

It is simple:

Both sides view the other as disingenuous and downright evil.

From the perspective of the anti-reformists all support for this bill is a disguised effort to destroy capitalism and / or expand the federal government to an unreasonable size.

From the perspective of the pro-reformists all rejection of this bill is a disguised effort to spread hatred, intolerance, racism and violence under the banner of a “tea party” and / or purely strategic politics of conservatives seeking to undermine all bills proposed under President Obama.

(There is, of course, a great deal more complexity at play here in both positions.)

In a situation where both groups view the other as “liars” there is no debate to be had. No discussion that will bare fruits. None.

The fear and lies surrounding this health bill entirely native to the rightwing has no bartering point from which to start from. There is no common ground to find with a person who lies about the record and rejects all evidence that does not compliment their existing preconceptions.

Throughout this year long national debate I have strived to pull the emotions out and put the facts in their place, but such actions only serve a purpose when there remains holdouts on both sides. In the course of this I have seen new levels of hostility directed at me personally more so then ever before in my experience.

I have never “unfriended” and “blocked” so many people in my entire ten-plus years on the Internet.

The incitement toward violence, the death threats, the partisan hate; all existed prior to the matter becoming national in the death threats against Democrats post-HCR. All of this existed in the venom directed at health reform advocates on a daily basis from individuals of a very low moral fiber and very poor understanding of democracy.

In matters discussing life and death, I’d rather not see so many and myself give in to fear; but it truly doesn’t surprise me in the least to see this country explode in mindless paranoia. Big changes equates to big fears, bad economy equates to paranoia on the rise.

In the solid matter of facts, this health bill is a net-positive for America.

But this issue will not lose any of it’s contentious nature no matter how many facts are interjected in the mass spreading of paranoid myths. For too many Americans it is simply easier to believe the worst, and the biased conservative media is sure to provide them endless piles of red meat.

Tea Party Death Threats & Vandalism

The fractious ultra-conservative Tea Party Movement has finally morphed from bazaar partisan rancor into death threats and vandalism against the Democratic health care reform agenda. The racist language directed at John Lewis, the homophobic slurs directed at Barney Frank, the coffin placed in Russ Carnahan’s lawn; the list of examples continues on.

Bigoted anti-Semitism has erupted in talk radio and Internet circles as the threats with possibly bullets behind them find their way to Eric Cantor’s office.

The Tea Party tactics that we see coming to fruition in all this recent hostility toward Democrats, and any progressive or liberal who does anything but stand mute, are designed to sour and squelch all civil debate over health care reform.

This is not and never was about taxes.

The Republican Party and the biased Fox News media have done nothing but prop up these radicals who exhibit these untruthful and violent features. Now these same hypocrites attempt to lay the blame for this vandalism at the feet of Democrats and those who support the health care reform agenda.

The far right has revealed itself as an anti-life and anti-freedom movement in this reform backlash, while the mainstream right reveals itself to be completely accepting of this domestic terrorism.

I want to see these Tea Party bloggers posting an address that is attacked with vandalism to be arrested on charges of willfully contributing to wanton destruction of private property.

Two conservative Tea Party activists posted the address of the home on the Internet on Monday, mistakenly believing it was the home of the congressman. One of the activists urged others to “drop by” and “express their thanks” for Perriello’s vote in favor of health care reform.

Tuesday evening, Perriello’s brother’s family smelled gas and discovered the propane line of a gas-powered grill on their screened-in porch had been slashed.

11th Hour of U.S. Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON — After a frenzied push to nail down final commitments and resolve lingering disputes in their ranks, House Democrats today are poised to pass the most sweeping change to the nation’s health care system since the creation of Medicare nearly half a century ago.

President Obama has at long last starting stumping for health care reform and started speaking the truth to the power of the health insurance companies strangling American families worse and worse every year. Whatever strategic issues I have with Democratic Health Care Reform, the bottom line is the party and the president have stepped up to do the right thing and put forward the agenda of the American people instead of the agenda of Corporate America being placed in the highest priority. Whatever enhancements I myself would add to this bill (Public Option) it is nonetheless a step in the right direction and beyond that point, if we failed to complete at the bare minimum of this reform in the system there will be dire consequences on the overall national economic stability in years to come.

This is the eleventh-hour of health care reform in the U.S., and this political blogger is predicting we will see these reforms pass.

Good news, to be sure.

After more than forty years of inaction and failures to address this most important issue we shall at long last see moral standards in our health care system and some limit placed on the corrupt practices of the insurance companies.